Monday, March 26, 2012

¿Que esta hoy en la cartelera?

I always read about people's travels through Mexico and South America and get insanely jealous, wishing I had my own travel experiences to share.  But a few days ago I realized that while I may not have visited some of the more charming, exotic and popular destinations, I have had the pleasure of traveling to Baja California and spending time in a few cities there.  So today's post is going to be part Spanish lesson, part travel story and much longer than usual, so get comfortable.

One of the cities I visit in Baja California is Tijuana.  Yes, I know that because of the all the bad publicity our news media gives the city many of you are thinking "Are you nuts?".  Well, believe it or not, Tijuana is a  modern metropolitan city comparable to many cities here in the US.  One of my favorite places to go when I'm there is Zona Rio.  It's an nice part of town with lots of upscale restaurants, bars and nightlife.   Oh, and did I mention shopping?  Well, there's a nice place to do all your shopping in an outdoor mall called Plaza Rio.

I'm going to give you all a brief recorrido (tour) of Plaza Rio.  Here's a few photos for your viewing pleasure.

FYI, Comercial Mexicana is a HUGE grocery store along the lines of a super Wal-Mart, maybe even bigger.  You can find everything in there.

Notice that last picture was taken from the top of the escalators.  What's at the top of the escalators you ask?

You'll find an incredibly nice movie theatre, which brings us to the point of today's post.

¿Que esta hoy en la cartelera?

If you've never heard the word cartelera, it's because the people who write our Spanish books seem to think we don't need to know any words beyond cine and película when it comes to movies.

Here's another photo.

I'm guessing you now know what a cartelera is.  Cartelera not only referees to a physical marquee, but also  to any type of movie listing, like online or in a newspaper.

Once you've picked your movie off the cartelera, you'll need a boleto (ticket) to get in.  And FYI, you may hear the word entrada used instead of boleto.  And of course you buy your tickets at the box office, or taquila.

Once you get in the cine (theatre) you may want to stop by the dulcería (concession stand) to buy some golosinas (candy), palomitas (popcorn), refrescos (sodas) or even hot dogs.  And yes, you would actual ask for a hot dog, but with your best Spanish accent.

Next you proceed to the sala (theatre room) that your movie is showing in and hope you can find a good asiento (seat).  And that thing holds your soda that we call a cup holder is called a portavaso (de cine) in Spanish.

When I went to the Cinepolis in Tijuana, I was looking forward to the opportunity to watching a movie in Spanish, even though I knew it understanding it would be difficult.  Well, I was in for quite a surprise.

I was expecting the movie to be dubbed, but instead it was in English with Spanish subtitulos (subtitles).  The subtitulos were flying by on the screen, I can't even begin to tell you how hard it was to keep up, although I didn't do too bad.

Let's translate today's phrase.

¿Que esta hoy en la cartelera?
What's showing today?

Here's a few other things you'll find useful.

You use the word salir to talk about movies being released.

No voy al cine mucho, pero no es que no salen buenas peliculas
I don't go to the movies a lot, but it's not because there are no good movies are coming out

To talk about movie opening or premieres you need the word estreno.

Estrenos de cine
Movie openings/releases

Próximos estrenos
Upcoming releases

Gran estreno mundial de la última película de la saga Harry Potter en Londres
The wold premier of the last movie of the Harry Potter saga in London

La película esta en 4 salas
The movie is in 4 theatres

You know, until I typed that last sentence I never noticed that we use the word theatre to talk about the entire building, but yet we also refer to each room as a theatre as well.  And people say Spanish is confusing.  But I digress, so let's move on.

The movie screen itself is called a pantalla, and you can use the phrase gran pantalla (the big screen) just like you do in English.

No me gusta sentarme demasiado cerca a la pantalla
I don't like to sit too close to the screen

And although you may see the verb mirar used to talk about watching movies or TV, the correct verb is ver.

No pude ver la  película anoche
I couldn't see (watch) the move last night

Whew!  With the execption of a few loose ends, we're finally done.  Let's tie up these loose ends so you can get on with your day.

I borrowed the photos in this post from the sites below, and there are many more photos of Plaza Rio and the Cinepolis theatre, so click around and take a look.

You can also go to if you want to pick up some more movie related vocabulary.

And if you're interested in movie reviews in Spanish, here's a good place to start.

If you're like me, you might have a hard time remembering all these phrases when the time comes.  Well, if you have an Android phone you don't have to remember them, you can carry them around with you on your Android phone with My Spanish Phrasebook from Google Play.  Developed by yours truly of course. 

Ya, eso es todo por hoy.

Hasta la próxima.


  1. All movies here are shown in the original language with Spanish subtitles! Except for kids movies, which are dubbed :)

    Cinepolis VIP is the best movie theater ever!

  2. Great post! Very useful vocab.

    Interesting to see you include a sentence with "cerca a" instead of "cerca de"-- that's Colombian Spanish! If it's used anywhere else, I'm not aware of it. Have you heard it from Spanish speakers from other countries?

    You covered so many useful things. Mirar v. ver is a big one. Also, estrenar. Super useful verb! And salir.

  3. Thanks to both of you for taking the time to post.

    @Vocabat...In all honesty, I never paid close enough attention to realize that "ceca a" was a regional thing. Thanks for pointing that out.